While the Republican Party’s policy platform, revealed during last week’s National Convention in Tampa, Florida, suggested that India would be considered a "geopolitical ally" under a Republican administration, the ongoing Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, chose to retain the label of "strategic partner" to describe its ties with New Delhi.
Unveiling the party platform on Tuesday, Democrats said, "We will continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region."
The RNC’s statement on this subject read, "We welcome a stronger relationship with the world’s largest democracy, India, both economic and cultural, as well as in terms of national security. We hereby affirm and declare that India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner."
The difference between the two may be purely superficial, or not. The wording did raise eyebrows in some quarters, given the well-worn stereotype of Republican administrations being better for India-U.S. relations than a Democratic one.
Speaking at an event on the margins of the RNC, India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao, however, sought to clarify the statements saying, "What I would like to emphasise is that both parties, Republicans and Democrats, I think have an approach to India that is defined in a very positive manner. They see the need to progress relations with India, to promote trade and economic ties, cultural exchanges and to promote the strategic partnership."
Noting that U.S. policy towards India was essentially "a bipartisan approach and there are no divisions of views when it comes to this", the Ambassador said for this reason she did not think that "anybody has any conflicting view about India in this country — everybody has a very positive outlook".